One significant factor in the economic meltdown of the last three years is the undemocratic and unaccountable way in which economic power and decision-making is organised. A small elite of directors, managers and major shareholders decide everything, to the exclusion of employees, consumers and the wider public.
Britain is, in effect, an economic dictatorship, with an extraordinary concentration of economic power and wealth. It is, in part, this lack of economic democracy and accountability that bought Britain to the brink of catastrophe in 2008 and has left the country vulnerable ever since.
Regrettably, the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders have no serious plans to reform the economic system that allowed irresponsible decisions by banks and big businesses. This absence of reform leaves Britain vulnerable to more economic chaos in the future.
To help prevent a repeat economic meltdown, we need greater economic democracy, participation, transparency, decentralisation and accountability.
There are four ways we could achieve this:
• Make corporate negligence and recklessness an explicit criminal offence, to reign in big business sharks and ensure more responsible economic management.Bankers and company bosses should not be able to wreck whole economies and squander with impunity people’s jobs, pensions and savings. They ought to be held personally liable for damaging corporate decisions. This spectre of legal penalties is likely to result in more prudent corporate governance